October 2020 top product alerts: AMD’s RX 6000 GPUs, a liquid-smooth 360Hz monitor, affordable phones, and more

New hardware and devices continue to hit shelves at a brisk clip.

Credit: AMD

October may not have matched September’s deluge of product announcements, but it still brought a couple of zingers. We’ve highlighted the best of the bunch, along with a few items that launched this month so you don’t miss out. (Shortages are a real thing these days.)

At this point, we’re starting to move past announcements into product arrivals. Still, a couple of major reveals happened. The biggest is AMD’s Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards—and the bold claim that its top-end card matches (and sometimes even beats) Nvidia’s beefy RTX 3090.

October 2020’s top product announcements

AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards

radeon 6000 series AMD

AMD's Big Navi graphics cards look like they'll give Nvidia a run for its money.

Turns out that Big Navi is pretty huge. In its October 28 announcement, AMD unveiled its first RDNA2 graphics cards—along with benchmarks showing the RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT holding their own against Nvidia’s monster RTX 30-series GPUs. Moreover, the two highest-end cards undercut Nvidia’s offerings in price, with the RX 6900 XT costing a whopping $500 less than the RTX 3090. We’re looking forward to what our own benchmarks will reveal when these cards launch on November 18 (RX 6800, RX 6800 XT) and December 8 (RX 6900 XT).

Alienware AW2521H 360Hz Gaming Monitor

Alienware AW2521H 360Hz gaming monitor Dell

You don't have to be a competitive gamer to appreciate the fluidity of a 360Hz monitor.

Finding the perfect gaming monitor for your tastes used to be harder, even if you had ready cash to blow—but nowadays, companies push out more and more panels with a range of resolutions, dimensions, and features. Alienware’s newest boasts an ultra-high refresh rate, providing a 360Hz 1080p IPS display with a 1ms gray-to-gray response time and G-Sync. Come November, you’ll be able to pick up this 24-inch monitor and its promised liquid smoothness for a cool $900.

New WD Black PCIe SSDs

en us wd black an1500 hero smaller cropped WD

WD's Black AN1500 PCIe card pairs two Gen 3 NVMe drives in RAID 0 to deliver speeds nearly on par with a Gen 4 NVMe SSD.

The selection of Gen 4 SSDs continues to gradually expand, with WD among the vendors adding to their lineup. The WD Black SN850 will come in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities starting at $150, with a read speed of 7,000MBps and write speed of 5,300MBps for its 1TB model. Availability begins now (end of October), with an RGB model following in early 2021.

Got a PC without PCIe 4.0 support? The WD Black AN1500 pairs two SN750 Gen 3 NVMe SSDs on a RAID 0 PCIe card to provide blistering speeds that come close to those of a Gen 4 drive. In our review of the 2TB model, we found it reached a 6,500MBps read speed and a write speed exceeding 4,000MBps—not bad if you have a spare PCIe x8 (or x16) slot available.

Google Pixel 5

pixel 5 Google

Google's Pixel 5 may share the same processor with the Pixel 4a, but it still packs in enough features to avoid feeling cheap.

Google’s latest iteration of its premium Android phone costs hundreds of dollars less than rival flagship phones, with a greater focus on features than raw specs. (It shares the same processor with the cheaper Pixel 4a; upgrades focus on other specs like RAM, battery capacity, and display refresh rate.) Our early impressions of the Pixel 5 indicate that, as usual, its camera and stock Android experience are its primary advantages.

AMD Ryzen 5000 processors

dr lisa su 8 AMD

With Zen 3, AMD seeks to stand toe-to-toe with Intel in games.

Each generation of Zen processors has shown steady improvement. But instead of core count increases this time around, AMD has focused on eliminating Intel’s last advantage. In its reveal of four new Zen 3 CPUs—the 5950X, 5900X, 5800X, and 5600X—the company touted gaming performance that matches or beats those of rival chips. We’ll find out if that’s true when these CPUs launch on November 5...as well as whether they’re worth the increase in price.

Noctua chromax.black NH-D15S and NH-U9S

nh d15s chromax black 4 Noctua

Interested in Noctua, but not its classic color scheme? Your options for coolers colored in all black have expanded.

Noctua, beloved for its performance, continues to give PC builders more of what they want: an escape from the company’s iconic but divisive beige-and-brown aesthetic. The Chromax Black line now includes two more CPU coolers, the NH-D15S and NH-U9S, which will cost $90 and $65, respectively. This addition brings up the total number of Chromax Black coolers to six, and fills in the single-fan options with 140mm and 92mm variations.

Intel Core i3-10100F

Intel Core i3 retail box Intel

The Intel Core i3-10100F sheds integrated graphic in favor of a price cut.

Budget gaming PC builders will soon have an additional CPU option for consideration: The Intel Core i3-10100F drops the integrated graphics from the 4-core, 8-thread i3-10100 for a predicted savings of 25 percent. An official price has yet to be released, but the estimates of $80 to $100 could tempt builders away from AMD’s Ryzen 3 3100 ($99) or Ryzen 3 3300X ($120)—both of which have been difficult to find at their MSRPs (or, in the case of the 3300X, altogether).

OnePlus 8T

oneplus 8t back Michael Simon/IDG

Not only do you get strong features in this more afforable phone, but it also comes in a stunning aquamarine color.

Like the Google Pixel 5, OnePlus’s newest phone aims at the mid-range with a price tag of $750. By cutting some corners on the standard OnePlus 8’s specs, you get a camera with solid low-light performance, a 120Hz screen, ultra-fast charging, loads of RAM, and Android 11 out of the box. On specs alone, the 8T compares with higher-end phones, and our initial time with this phone shows it can hold its own in a showdown, too.

Now available

dsc01226 Brad Chacos/IDG

The RTX 3070 does deliver on Nvidia's promise of 2080 Ti performance—but only a select few will get to experience it. Stock sold out in minutes on launch day.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Nvidia’s most affordable 30-series graphics card (relatively speaking) went on sale October 29, after a delay from its planned October 15 launch date. You’d be hard-pressed to find one right now, though: Stock sold out within mere minutes.

  • MSRP: $500 (Founder’s Edition)
  • Available (eventually) at Newegg, Best Buy

Hyper 212 Evo V2

Popular among budget builders, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler was always a pain to install—but version 2 at last makes that headache go away.

  • MSRP: $40
  • Available from Amazon

Ubisoft Connect

Ubisoft’s decision to unify its UPlay and Ubisoft Club platforms doesn’t change much—but existing members should check their accounts, as the company has unlocked over 1,000 legacy Ubisoft Club rewards in celebration of the launch.

Phanteks Eclipse P360A

Phanteks’ take on a mesh mid-tower case costs a bit less than its competition does, while offering an angular but elegant look.

NZXT N7 Z490

Ryzen may come up more often in conversations among the enthusiast crowd, but some folks still use Intel parts. For the aesthetically minded among them, NZXT offers a beautifully sleek Z490 motherboard—it’s a shame mobo covers aren’t common.

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Alaina Yee

PC World (US online)
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